Vendor Management - AFA Timekeeper Mechanics (Rates)
Recently, several inquiries have focused on the mechanics of managing non-hourly timekeepers in a company's electronic billing system.
While it is helpful to have a system with a purpose-built Alternative Fee Arrangements (AFA) module, here is an approach that works well even if you do not have this option.
First, you will need a timekeeper role to report against. Most systems have an "Other" or "Non-Legal Professional," or even "AFA Timekeeper" that you can elect for this purpose. Also check to see if your tool has an other-than-hourly rate type.
Next, in the Name field (or Last Name field), you will adopt a standard naming convention for non-hourly timekeepers.
For task-based timekeepers, I recommend the UTBMS Code followed by an abbreviated description. For example, a trademark filing application in France would be "TR310 App FRA" where TR310 is the UTBMS task code for trademark filing and FRA is the 3-digit ISO code for France. By adopting a standard naming convention if you have more than one vendor providing the same service you will be able to compare their rates directly.
The same approach can be adapted to other timekeeping arrangements. For example, a fixed fee matter might be prefaced with the system-assigned matter number, such as "12345 Matter FF" where 12345 is the system-assigned matter ID, and FF is Fixed or Flat Fee. If it is fixed fee by phase you might have, for example, "12345 Summ Motion FF."
If your matter management system has separate fields for first and last name the first name might be the AFA type. For example, TASK, or FF, with name described above as the last name.
Ops in a Box, Legal Edition contains sample Rate Submission Guidelines you can adapt to your vendors (as well as to an internal facing Rate Review Guidelines) with a section on AFA timekeeper naming conventions.